Skip to main content

Taiwanese Speech Notepad (English/Chinese version)


An Introduction to Taiwanese Speech Notepad
Yu-Chu Chang

Taiwanese Speech Notepad, a stand-alone text-to-speech software for the person who likes to learn Taiwanese language through Romanized Taiwanese or Chinese characters registered copyright with the name of Modern Literal Taiwanese Reading and Writing System in 2001. As the speech engine and the speech synthesizer are original programs developed by the authors, the system can work independently without mounting MS Speech SDK or IBM TTS Engine. With Corpus-based multilingual dictionary and Dynamic Database structure, the speech of Taiwanese Speech Notepad can be generated from literal Romanized Taiwanese or Chinese text using pre-recorded natural human voice as well as prosodic speech synthesizer.
Taiwanese (also called Amoy) is a phonetics-based language. A Taiwanese sentence is a Set (mathematics), a collection of well defined and distinct objects named tone group. There are two different tones for a syllable or a word in Taiwanese. In initial or medial position of a word or a tone group, the syllable or word will be given with sandhi tone while lexical tone was given for the end syllable of a word or a tone group. Therefore, if and only if a lexical tone was given in the end of a set of words, then the set of words was a tone group.
Tone sandhi is a phonological change occurring in tonal languages such as Mandarin and some languages spoken in China; individual word change its tone based on the pronunciation of adjacent words in a sentence. Tone sandhi of Taiwanese, although complex, can be followed by some rules. In addition, tones, semantics and syntactic structures are closely related in Taiwanese. A listener can distinguish exactly word meaning from its tone phase among similar sentences. For example, different tone phase of the clay oven roll represented distinct meaning in the following sentences.
Mua5-a2 (lexical tone) tua7 e5 sio-piann2. (The clay oven roll with big sesame.)
Mua5-a2 (context tone) tua7 e5 sio-piann2. (The clay oven roll as big as sesame.)
Another example is that the tone phase of "tsit-king (the unit of a house)" depends on its context in a sentence.
Tsit-king (lexical tone) u7 tsai-hue. (There are flowers around the house.)
Tsit-king (context tone) u7 tsai-hue e5 tshu3 si7 guan2-tau. (The house with many flowers is mine.)
In general, inserting words in a Taiwanese sentence could be lexical form, context form or tone group. No matter what embedding form is, the final sentence structure would be decomposed into tone groups.
The following sentences reveal the unique tone group derivative structure of Taiwanese language through variety forms of word inserting within a sentence.
The original sentence consists of two tone groups: [A-bi2] [beh khi3 Tai5-pak.] (Amy is going to Taipei.)
Context word (siunn7) inserting: [A-bi2] [siunn7 beh khi3 Tai5-pak.] (Amy wants to go to Taipei.) The number of tone group doesn't change.
Lexical word (pai3-it) inserting: [A-bi2] [pai3-it] [beh khi3 Tai5-pak.] (Amy is going to Taipei on Monday.) The number of tone group was changed to three.
Tone group (tse7 gu5-tshia) inserting: [A-bi2] [beh tse7 gu5-tshia] [khi3 Tai5-pak.] (Amy is going to Taipei by an ox-cart.) The number of tone group was changed to three.
Since tone sandhi is one of the most complicated and challenged subjects for Taiwanese text-to-speech systems, a language model that was designed to coin language expertise and heuristic knowledge was hooped to a corpus. This corpus was used to cooperate with rule based sandhi processor to pick up accuracy tone among possible tones for each word in a sentence. Furthermore, the model based on languages learning and acquisition theory offered an experimental environment for the simulation of knowledge engineering.
Through the study of Taiwanese architecture, we find that the production system of Taiwanese is quite clear and definite. This logical and scientific natural language has been developed and inherited several thousand years without its own writing system. Tone group must be one the most important elements for Taiwanese language acquisition. Through the development of Taiwanese Speech Notepad, we found that tone group was not only the basic syntax unit of a sentence but also a unique semantic unit as well as prosodic boundary in Taiwanese. This approach may reveal that modern Mandarin that lack of the regularity of tone group is different from Taiwanese language.
Taiwanese Speech Notepad is more than a text-to-speech system. It is also a simulator for tone sandhi acquisition in Taiwanese intra-sentence. By means of the adjustment of corpus and rules, we may understand how people handle Taiwanese tone sandhi through long-term memory as well as short-term memory in our brain. The forming process and the derivative structure of Taiwanese probably is one of the keys to artificial intelligence research.
Latest Information: (in English) (in Chinese) (in Japanese)

Language English
Collection opensource


Reviewer: DuckyCHEN - - August 15, 2013
Subject: oh great
i never get what that is like that sound
( 1 reviews )
vikontony Favorites
Community Texts
by Jolyon C. Parish
Community Texts
by Luiz Roberto Fontes
Community Texts
by Spirit of Revolt.
Community Texts
Community Texts
by Sue Slick